Potato is a starchy tuberous crop and becomes an integral part of much of the worldwide food/potato food supply and suppliers. It is the world’s fourth-largest food crop, following maize, wheat and rice. Bangladesh is now one of the big potato-producing and exporting countries in the world. In the year 2021, potato exporters in Bangladesh produced 15 million M. Ts of potatoes among which around 50% is exported and it is increasing year by year. For the year 2025 production target is 50 million M.Ts. Potato is now one of the good export qualities agro-products of Bangladesh.
The main importing countries of Bangladesh origin potatoes are Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Vietnam, Philippines and Russia.
Bangladesh’s climate and soil is very suitable to grow tropical country potato with the best competitive price as the labour cost of a farmer here is quite low compared to any other potato and Agro product growing country.
Asian countries are seeing potatoes as their possible salvation as they scramble to feed their people at reasonable prices in the future in a region where the population is estimated to soar by some 35 percent to 4.9 billion by 2025.
Food security is vital in the region as many governments fear unrest if food staple prices keep going up. India said in 2008 that it wanted to double potato production in the next five to 10 years. China, a huge rice consumer, has become the world’s top potato grower. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the potato is expanding more than any other crop right now.
Potatoes are a great source of complex carbohydrates, which release their energy slowly and they have only five percent of the fat content of wheat.
Myanmar has shown interest to import potato from Bangladesh because of the low price of the item here. Bangladesh starts to export potatos to that country primarily.
Bangladesh may get higher export prices for potato from Myanmar due to the low price facility
An entry of various varieties of domestic and foreign potatoes pushed down the price in the Yangon market, especially for large-sized potato. These days, potatoes from Sinphyukyun and Bhamo regions, potatoes from China and Bangladesh, as well as Shan potatoes, entered the market. With the influx of potatoes from the Sinphyukyun area, the price of large-sized potatoes has decreased. At the time of the arrival of Shan potatoes, the wholesale price of S1 and S2 sizes (large sizes) stood at K1,850 and K2,100 per viss respectively. When Sinphyukyun potatoes entered the market, the wholesale price of S3 sizes including S1 and S2 sizes was only K1,400 per viss on 14 February. Normal sizes of potatoes A1, OK, S1 and S2 were valued at K1,600, K1,700, K1,700 and K1,400 per viss each. Similarly, the price of Bhamo potatoes and China potatoes were only K2,000 and K2,150 per viss these days. A total of 96,000 visses of potatoes from various regions arrived at the market on 18 February and 66,000 visses entered the market on 20 February. Potatoes from Bangladesh were sold in various sizes at depots in Yangon, and the price of medium-sized potatoes stood at only around K1,500 per viss. The price of large-sized potatoes decreased due to the low demand in the market. In early December 2022, when onion was valued at K4,000 per viss, the price of potato was only half of the onion price. Currently, potato and onion prices are almost the same. Although onion is a daily necessity, it is used less when the price is high. Potatoes are used as a side dish. Thus, when the potato price is high, consumers use other vegetables instead of potatoes.
Lalita potato grown in Rangpur, Dinajpur, Kurigram and Comilla has been the top export product in Myanmar for two years. Exports are made through Teknaf land port in Cox’s Bazar. Bangladeshi Lalita potatoes are in huge demand in Myanmar due to three reasons. First of all Bangladeshi Lalita potatoes are cheap in price. Second, in Rakhine State, where there was potato cultivation, production has decreased due to the establishment of barracks by the security forces. Third, the number of unemployed and poor people in Rakhine State is increasing, which also increases the demand for low-cost goods.
According to the information of the customs department of Teknaf land port, about 17 thousand metric tons of Lalita potatoes were exported to Myanmar through Teknaf land port in the last financial year 2021-22, the export value of which is about 12 crore 12 lakh taka. To reach Teknaf land port, the price of potatoes fell to 700 taka per kg. In the three months from July to September of the current financial year 2022-23, 119 metric tons of potatoes have been exported to Myanmar. The export value of which is about 18 lakh taka. The price of potato per kg is more than 18 rupees when it reaches the port. The potato traders of Teknaf said that although Lalita potato is used more in the Rohingya camp of Ukhia-Teknaf and hotels and restaurants in Cox’s Bazar, local people are used to eating native potatoes. Buddhists, including Rohingyas in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, turned to Bangladeshi Lalita potatoes because of lower prices.
Written By: Harunur Rasid
Copyright: Fresh Angle International (www.freshangleng.com)